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StandupApril is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Alianza, the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making our communities a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional developmental well-being

Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing advocates and other community members can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.

Presidential Proclamation

Everyone’s participation is critical. As the President stated in his Proclamation: “We all have a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect and in helping young victims recover. From parents and guardians to educators and community leaders, each of us can help carve out safe places for young people to build their confidence and pursue their dreams. I also encourage Americans to be aware of warning signs of child abuse and neglect, including sudden changes in behavior or school performance, untreated physical or medical issues, lack of adult supervision, and constant alertness, as though preparing for something bad to happen.

In support of Child Abuse Prevention efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy – Strengthening Families have created a Making Meaningful Connections 2014 Resource Guide. The guide, designed for service providers who work throughout the community to strengthen families, is available on Information Gateway's website: https://childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/resource-guide/

Child-Abuse--Sexual-Assault-Prevention-MonthNational Statistics on Child Abuse

According to the National Children’s Alliance, in 2012, an estimated 1,640 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States. In the same year:

  • An estimated 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect (unique instances).

  • 51 states reported approximately 3.8 million children received preventative services from Child Protective Services agencies in the United States.

  • Children younger than one year had the highest rate of victimization of 21.9 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.

  • Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, more than 75% suffered neglect; more than 15% suffered physical abuse; and just under 10% suffered sexual abuse.

  • Approximately 80% of reported child fatalities as a result of abuse and neglect were caused by one or more of the child victim’s parents.

History of National Child Abuse Prevention Month

 In 1983, Congress declared April to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since that time, communities across the country have taken the opportunity to raise awareness of issues surrounding child maltreatment and abuse through proclamations, ceremonies, educational forums, tributes and candlelight vigils.  April is a time to look back, to acknowledge the children who have suffered and the losses sustained throughout our communities because of that suffering.  But it is also a time to look forward - most of all to a time when children no longer have to live in fear.

Actions Taking Place Around the Country

Children's Advocacy Centers and supportive individuals around the country are conducting innovative efforts in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Read about some creative efforts and learn how you can get involved at the local level: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/NationalChildAbusePreventionMonth_2014LocalInitiatives

You can also visit: www.ChildWelfare.gov/Preventing to learn more about how you can prevent child abuse.